on July 16, 2004
Ever since I first read the title of this book I was somewhat concerned.
As part of the Newmaker trial coverage for a national news service bureau in Denver, one day during the trial while coming out for lunch I cornered lead prosecutor Steve Jensen and asked him what his prosecution was based on.
Was it going to put "attachment therapy on trial?"
Jensen's answer was simple and straight-forward.
He intended on pursuing a very narrow prosecution to prove that Watkins and Ponder were responsible under the terms of the state's child abuse / homicide statute for the death of Candace Newmaker. Child abuse/homicide is the most serious felony in the Colorado state criminal code.
Thus, with the title, the authors are fraudulenty trying to assert something which simply is not true. The only part of the Newmaker trial that was concerned with the value of Attachment Therapy was the defense. And, unfortunately, that was because of the existence of a videotape which showed Watkins and Ponder "in the act." The defense had no other alternative than to assert that it was simply a mistake of the therapy. Certainly, if the videotape did not exist, the defense would have probably have opted for a different defensive strategy.
And, unfortunately, the book does have several factual errors ... such as the notation by Mr. Patterson. A check with the local Midvale, Utah police department shows Krystal's date of birth as December 7, 1991, and her date of death as July 7, 1995, making her three years, eight months old at her death.
However, Mr. Patterson was incorrect in his statement about the spelling of Newmaker's name. It is correctly spelled J-E-A-N-E.
It was also ironic that when I had lunch with Linda Rosa one day during the trial, that when I asked her about her thoughts on the Jeannie Warren case in Texas with "rage-reduction therapy," she said that she had never heard of it!
Yet, Larry Sarner and his wife / co-author Linda Rosa would leave the courtroom early every day to be ready to give sound bites to the Denver TV news media - about something that they both knew little, if anything about, at that time.
This book seems to reflect the same type of continuing mentality.
on June 27, 2004
While the authors arrogantly look down upon "the journalistic practice that has been called pseudosymmetry" (page 6), they have effectively also ignored another journalistic practice: accuracy.
It is totally amazing that they contradict themselves on very basic information:
page 5: "...Krystal Tibbets, a 4-year-old Utah child..."
page 243: "...Krystal Tibbets, who died at the age of 3 in 1996."
What is totally mind-boggling is the arrogant presumption to change or deliberately misspell the name of one of the major historical figures: adoptive mother Jeanne Newmaker.
Apparently the authors did not like the spelling of her name, so they changed it to "Jeane" in the book.
If you can't get even the most minor of facts correct, then most certainly one should not place any credibility in the authors for anything else.
Ignore ... avoid this book, which is riddled with arrogant, ignorant errors and not to be depended upon for any type of credible statement. If in a library, please remove it!
on December 9, 2003
Here's a review by the American Library Association:
Thinking her ten-year-old adopted daughter suffered from an emotional disorder blocking the development of attachment relationships, Candace's mother consulted numerous mental health professionals until she found the practitioners of "attachment therapy" (AT)--a fringe group of unlicensed therapists--who told her what she wanted to hear. This book examines the beliefs of the mother and the attachment therapists and how the two complemented one another. Mercer et al. demonstrate that AT is based on premises and assumptions long discredited by careful empirical research. They explain why the old and unproved methods of AT remain attractive to an unsophisticated public and why legal factors make banning dangerous practices of AT difficult. And they accomplish this through analysis that does not resort to reductionism or name-calling. Evidence from court testimony and the 11 hours of video tape leading up to Candace's death by suffocation are analyzed to describe not only the "therapy" she received, but also the treatment she should have received had her mother approached and followed the advice of psychotherapists practicing in licensed settings. The authors also explore the deaths of other children at the hands of therapists using AT methods before concluding with a proposal to regulate the use of AT. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All collections. --- R. B. Stewart Jr., Oakland University
on November 15, 2003
While this author has attempted to "investigate' this tragic situation, and show the bizarre quality of many therapists out there, she has not a real clue about childhood disorders in general. Her biases (which seem to stem from her own "affiliations"), make her comments less credible as she is on some type of personal "mission" Also, she has really skewed the facts of this tragic case. She needed to focus OBJECTIVELY on the data, and not so much of her personal opinions, as she is obviously angry with many things aside from this case. This author also has her own "history" of troubles which may color her views.
on September 1, 2003
My worry, as a parent of a child with attachment disorder, is that this book may add further confusion for parents who have just had their child diagnosed with attachment disorder by a licensed professional. It did bring up some points but did little to actually address the problems parents face when trying to find ethical, effective help for their child who suffers with attachment disorder.